The Designosaur Story

05: Time and Temporalities

While drawing in my sketchbook, I wondered why the Designosaur ignored the Anthropocene as its new place? Maybe because it hurts? Anyway. I couldn't stop here. I was quite optimistic that the Designosaur was well aware of time and temporalities. It came from the Holocene, after all. It's a design-OSAUR! It must have a lot of self-awareness about time (travel) and temporalities.

I looked up from my sketchbook ... and ... saw the Designosaur looking at itself. As if it was looking for something. After watching this spectacle for a while - imagine a Designosaur smiling all the time while scanning itself - I asked:

Me: You look happy? Will you share your happiness with me?

Designosaur: Oh, yes! But... isn't it obvious? I mean... look at me...

Me: Give me a hint.

Designosaur: My skin!

Me: Yeah, it's an old-fashioned, high-end exposed concrete facade.

Designosaur: Come-on! This is: a classic - why did you say, "old school"? - High-end exposed concrete facade.... made of recycled concrete! Sustainability standard double platinum!

Me: Oh. Hmm... right. There's a greenish sheen. At least it's good for the sand. Our poor mountains are struggling quite a bit to meet our sand needs. That whole erosion and removal, river-lake-sea thing, just takes too long. Guess how long it takes from...?

Designosaur: Excuse me, we're talking about my great facade here.... not sand. Stay concrete!

Me: All right, then don't guess.  I suppose you also don't want to guess how old the carbon dioxide is that was released during the production of your "stay concrete" - right?

Designosaur: Don't bug me! I am well aware of the carbon footprint of cement. That's why I'm built to stay forever.

Me: Forever - that's long! That's even longer than 100 million years...

Designosaur: What are you talking about? Seriously: I'll be here for at least 80 years. Most likely - because I'm so beautiful- even more than 100 years. You don't always have to exaggerate!

I was about to say, "No, you're the one who's exaggerating now.... 100 years, what a joke!!!" But... I didn't. I took a deep breath and calmed down. I was amazed at the matter-of-factness with which the Designosaur talks about time and its own role in time. While looking at its high-end exposed concrete facade, I tried to draw the carbon cycle in my sketchbook

 and came to the conclusion:

Me: Okay, your appearance - your facade - definitely changes the world! While you're here for the next few decades, you're having an impact on the planet for the next few.... I don't know... Thousand? Million? Years. So, yeah, maybe you're forever.

Designosaur: Yes, I am forever! Like the Pantheon in Rome ... 2000 years old. Cast in cement. Built to last.

Me (whispering): those days, they just “forgot” to add the reinforced steel. Hence, no steel to oxidise. And so no oxidisation to destroy the concrete. But why should I talk about the latency of processes, right?

Designosaur: What are you saying?

Me: Nothing - you are forever.

I wasn't sure if I was fascinated or shocked. The Designosaur talked about its lifespan without putting itself within the wider context. It didn't waste a single thought on the cycles and time span it was involved in and the latency of its action. Just because something happened a few years in the past or will happen a few years in the future, you can't ignore it.

I looked up into the tree above me, into its huge crown. Amazed by the size and all the cycles and entangled systems that are necessary for a tree to grow. We can't see them all - but still they are there. I squeezed my eyes and tried to see photosynthesis...